ASCON: Anatomy-aware Supervised Contrastive Learning Framework for Low-dose CT Denoising

by   Zhihao Chen, et al.

While various deep learning methods have been proposed for low-dose computed tomography (CT) denoising, most of them leverage the normal-dose CT images as the ground-truth to supervise the denoising process. These methods typically ignore the inherent correlation within a single CT image, especially the anatomical semantics of human tissues, and lack the interpretability on the denoising process. In this paper, we propose a novel Anatomy-aware Supervised CONtrastive learning framework, termed ASCON, which can explore the anatomical semantics for low-dose CT denoising while providing anatomical interpretability. The proposed ASCON consists of two novel designs: an efficient self-attention-based U-Net (ESAU-Net) and a multi-scale anatomical contrastive network (MAC-Net). First, to better capture global-local interactions and adapt to the high-resolution input, an efficient ESAU-Net is introduced by using a channel-wise self-attention mechanism. Second, MAC-Net incorporates a patch-wise non-contrastive module to capture inherent anatomical information and a pixel-wise contrastive module to maintain intrinsic anatomical consistency. Extensive experimental results on two public low-dose CT denoising datasets demonstrate superior performance of ASCON over state-of-the-art models. Remarkably, our ASCON provides anatomical interpretability for low-dose CT denoising for the first time. Source code is available at


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